Saturday, July 23, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
At your leisure enjoy excellent photos of Sainte Chapelle. This site by David Scherbel Photograpy includes descriptions. Be aware that no video nor photo truly captures the beauty of the stained glass.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Moules Marinière (Mussels Mariner-Style)
as prepared at the Culinary Institute of America
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer, 3 to 4 as a main course (if served with fries)
- Just before you are ready to cook the dish, wash the mussels under cold running water and remove the "beards," which are the fibrous connectors protruding from between the bivalves' shells.
- Heat large pot over medium-high heat. Be sure to use a pot (with a cover) that is large enough to easily hold all of the mussels; you'll want to give them at least one big stir during cooking. Melt the butter in the pot and wait for the foam to subside. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook until they're fragrant and translucent, 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Add the parsley, give it one stir, turn the heat to high, and add the mussels to the pot. Stir the mussels once with a large wooden spoon, remove the pot from the flame, and add the wine. Return the pot to the flame, cover, and reduce the heat to medium, shaking the pot occasionally.
- After 4 minutes, check if any mussels have opened. If only a few have opened, cover the pot again and turn up the heat. If most of them are open, remove them to warmed bowls and cover the pot again to let the last few open. After 1 more minute, transfer the remaining open mussels to the bowls. (The unopened mussels are either dead or stubborn. If stubborn, the cook gets to eat them later after they've opened, but if they're dead, toss them.)
- Decant the cooking juices to remove the grit at the bottom of the pot. To make this step easier, set the pot so that it is tilted enough to make the liquid settle on one side. After it sits for a minute or two, the grit will settle to the bottom of the pot. Pour the flavorful broth carefully out of the pot, but stop as soon as you see the grit starting to make its way close to the edge. Season the sauce with pepper as needed, and pour it over the mussels. Serve immediately, making sure each person has a place to put his or her spent shells.
It doesn't always have to be cheese and wine. This afternoon I treated myself to some draft beer and mussels at la Geuze, a restaurant / pub on rue Soufflot near the Panthéon. I skipped the French fries. I could barely finish all these mussels.
Paris is a very large city and the tourists are spread out so it is not as crowded as Rome. The wide boulevards and massive parks and plazas can accommodate them. Paris is beautiful, monumental, magnificent; Rome is eternal, but smaller so the same tourists are really squished and move through the tourist areas packed together like sardines.